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Old 11-16-08, 06:29 PM   #1
Waves77
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How long should disc brake pads last?

I got a bike around 3-4 weeks ago, have done only about 75 miles on it, and both my front and back pads are pretty worn down (back more than front).

Is this rate normal?

I know the bike I bought had been at the shop for at least a year before I bought it, so I wonder if the demo rides (and maybe rentals?) wore them down... is this something that I should fix myself, or would you expect the shop to have checked this out and replace the pads before selling it to me?

I'm asking because someone suggested I should take it to the store and get at least free labor if not free replacement pads. Don't want to be an ***** about it, but don't feel like I got duped either.

Any opinions?
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Old 11-16-08, 07:26 PM   #2
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Depends, what sort of riding are you doing and what are the brakes you are using?

Belting down big hills and using the brakes a lot will wear them out quickly. Bimbling around town isn't really going to wear them out that fast. I've met people who've worn out a set of disc pads in a single day and I've worn out a set of rim brake pads in a 100 mile ride due to bad weather.
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Old 11-16-08, 07:33 PM   #3
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Of course it depends on use--I've worn out a set of pads in a car in one race, while on the road they last me at least 75,000 miles. In this case, though, if you bought a bike you knew was used, I think you get what you get. Unless they gave you some kind of guarantee, it's on you.
I don't have disc brakes on any of my bikes, so I don't know how long it takes to swap pads there, but I can do it on any of my cars in less than half an hour for both front wheels. I can't imagine a bike is harder than that--aren't we talking about just a few minutes' labor? Not worth worrying about, IMO.
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Old 11-16-08, 09:23 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by daintonj View Post
Depends, what sort of riding are you doing and what are the brakes you are using?
Commuting from home to work for now, bike has disc brakes.

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In this case, though, if you bought a bike you knew was used, I think you get what you get.
The bike wasn't used, just a very large frame size (29er), so it took a while for them to sell it (the sales guy actually told they wouldn't carry these again, due to the size being so larger than average). I bought it as new, not used...
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Old 11-17-08, 05:51 AM   #5
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Just like rim brakes, conditions are a big factor as well as how much braking you're doing (as in long descents). I've worn out disc pads in a day of resort riding in wet and sandy conditions. I've worn out a set of rim brake pads in a single race, too (horrible conditions that day). There are different compounds, too, some pads don't last very long and give excellent braking power and then there are compounds that last longer but don't brake as well. 75 miles of commuting shouldn't unduly wear a set unless it's really hilly, gritty and wet, but even then....

My thoughts on the bike/shop are that they probably intended for you to start off with a good set of pads, even if the bike was a rental, so I'd just go back and ask them nicely to check the pad wear and see what they say (are you sure they're that worn? there's not a lot of pad material to start with...). I usually replace my pads when there's about 1 mm of pad left (as long as they're wearing evenly, you might have to pull them out of the caliper to be sure); some say the thinness of a dime but I usually go longer. YMMV.
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Old 11-18-08, 10:53 AM   #6
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What brakes are they? When you say worn,do you mean you inspected the pads and there's no meat left on them,or is your lever just coming all the way to the bar?

If the pads are actually worn,something's wrong. In this case I'd talk to the shp about it. I suspect the problem is the latter,however. When a bike is new,the cables 'stretch' and bed in. They actually don't stretch,but the stress of being pulled winds the strands tighter and causes the cable to lengthen slightly. This causes your brakes(all kinds) to feel like they are wearing prematurely(and your derailleurs to go out of adjustment). Here's and article on how to adjust discs:
http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=124

It's about Avids,but the basics are the same for all discs. Only differences are whether one or both pads are adjustable,and whether you need a hex key or have a knob to adjust the pads.

If the brakes are hydraulic,air may have gotten into the system and they may need to be bled.

I commute about 10 miles round trip,haul groceries with my main commuter,and have used it to play bike polo. I've been getting about 8 months to a year out of my front pads,and about a year to 14 months out of the rears. 75 miles is way too short unless you've been doing some kind of racing,riding in really bad conditions,or have been seriously dragging the brakes down steep hills.
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Old 11-18-08, 09:35 PM   #7
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What brakes are they? When you say worn,do you mean you inspected the pads and there's no meat left on them,or is your lever just coming all the way to the bar?
They're Avid BB5's - and yes, the way I found out is actually during a mechanics class (at a different LBS) where the mechanic pointed his flashlight on the pads. They were pretty much gone!

I'm taking the bike in tomorrow to the LBS where I bought it, to have them have a look at it. Thanks for the link, that'll come in handy
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Old 11-19-08, 01:48 AM   #8
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bike brake pads are very thin to start with. Check the thickness up against a new pair- but there are two types of pad material aswell. A soft and a hard. I Use HOpe Disc brakes on the Tandem and always use the hard pads. Length of life on these is normally around 2,000 miles or a year. I change them as a matter of course on the Anuual strip down.
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Old 11-19-08, 04:52 PM   #9
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Took it into the store, pads were totally fine. Guys in the store didn't really know what the problem is, but offered to re-install/adjust them, or suggested I upgrade to some hydraulics (seems overkill) or some bb7's.

I guess the other mechanic will have another look at it, and they might be able to credit me for the bb5's if I upgrade. We'll see what they say tomorrow.
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Old 11-20-08, 11:01 AM   #10
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There is actually a world of difference between the BB5 and the rest of the Avid line (long time user of BBDB/BB7s myself), but for a commuter the BB5 should be fine. Do you have a new set of pads ready for replacement? It's a good idea to have a set on hand. You could always use those to compare the old ones to. You really need to take them out and look at them, not just look at them with a flashlight, to really judge wear, too. This is something you should be doing for yourself, not running back and forth between shops.
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Old 11-21-08, 01:03 PM   #11
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Actually the LBS really hooked my up

They upgraded to the BB7's for $60 including labor, that was pretty cool.
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Old 11-24-08, 10:11 PM   #12
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Wow, I was running the same pads for years.

Once I went down this very steep hill where you can hit 70kmh, I was going rather fast so i decided to slow down to let the cars pass and i felt the heat come off my pads, it was badass.
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